Chapter 8:1-7 (ESV) - Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
“How long will you say these things,
and the words of your mouth be a great wind?
Does God pervert justice?
Or does the Almighty pervert the right?
If your children have sinned against him,
he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.
If you will seek God
and plead with the Almighty for mercy,
if you are pure and upright,
surely then he will rouse himself for you
and restore your rightful habitation.
And though your beginning was small,
your latter days will be very great.
Question to consider: With what two measures do we dole out justice?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve known a few Bildads. God may have had patience with Job’s questions asked in anguish, but Bildad didn’t. He thought they were a bunch of hot air. His questions about God perverting justice were rhetorical with an implied “No.” However, in posing these questions, Bildad was also implying that Job’s suffering was most definitely deserved. If I had a Delorean that could go back in time, I would do so just to punch Bildad in the face.
Not only did he imply that Job’s suffering was God’s judgment, but that his children definitely got what they deserved and Job was well on his way to sharing their fate. Justice is doled out in two measures: judgment and mercy. With this in mind, Jesus once said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) The idea was that in pursuing justice, if you were one who showed mercy to others, you would in turn receive mercy. Bildad appeared to be one who doled out judgment without even a spec of mercy. Even worse is that he pronounced judgment with confidence even though he had no true knowledge of the state of things.
According to Bildad, the only mercy Job would get is if he pleaded with the Almighty for it, and even then it would only be if he was pure and upright. The very idea that someone would only receive mercy because they deserved it contradicts the definition of mercy. The truth is that none of us deserve to receive mercy, and none of us are pure and upright enough to avoid judgment. God has granted us grace by way of His Son, and we need to receive it as a gift.
I really hope that Bildad had some kind of eye-opening experience before he faced the judgment seat of God. For if judged by his words in today’s passage, I do not expect that Bildad would have received even the smallest measure of mercy.
Dear Lord, thank You for demonstrating what mercy looks like. Help us to be as forgiving to others as You have been to us. Amen.